HSJ’s roundup of the day’s must read stories and debate

Avoid a horror show

NHS England has signaled action on rising temporary staffing spending is imminent, after admitting the system risks blowing its budget this year unless expenditure can be controlled.

At Thursday’s board meeting in central London, chief executive Simon Stevens said that without “decisive action” on temporary staffing in the coming weeks “it will be very hard for the NHS overall to deliver its side of the funding bargain” this year.

Action is likely to take the form of a cap on the rate payable to temporary staff – for doctors as well as nursing shifts.

Although this month’s finance report suggested the overall system’s position was less than gruesome, finance director Paul Baumann cautioned these figures were out of date, and said a “stock take” would begin soon to work out how to halt the deterioration.

During the meeting, NHS England chair Sir Malcolm Grant also revealed he had accepted a request by the health secretary to serve a second four year term, and bid a fond farewell to his deputy Ed Smith, who is about to become chair of NHS Improvement.

Overall rating: ‘don’t know’

The Care Quality Commission has admitted it currently looks set to miss key inspection deadlines – which it has already moved back.

In March the regulator was forced to push back its targets for inspecting all hospitals, GPs and adult social care providers because of sluggish recruitment and a heavier than anticipated workload.

But the revised deadlines now look likely to be missed – the CQC is forecasting that by the end of 2015-16 it will have inspected only 45 per cent of its target in primary care.

Earlier this month Jeremy Hunt said “outstanding” and “good” CQC ratings has replaced foundation status as providers’ “single definition of success”. It seems many of them will be rated “don’t know” for the foreseeable future.

In other news, the boss of the CQC has said that the fit and proper person regulation has led to the suspension of at least one trust chief executive.